Overall impression –
“The book is always better than the movie.” The old adage holds true, but The Hunger Games movie stands on its own and does the book justice. Yes, there are differences between the book and movie – the book as an audiofile is more than 10 hours long – so to be boiled down to 2.5 hours, there are a lot of elements that have to go.
The music is incredible. The scenery (North Carolina forests for the arena) completely captured me. The attire rang authentic in District 12 and the costumes of the Capitol thrilled. (Check out Capitol Couture if you want to see more!) The dialogue followed the book closely, though there were several lines that I adored in the book that were absent. (Haymitch’s evaluation of Katniss’ charm, for one…)
I thought the movie also did a good job of conveying the variety of messages Suzanne Collins had in the book. The arena scenes with the younger tributes are difficult to stomach, but they are done tastefully.
Perhaps the best part of Hunger Games “the movie” compared to Hunger Games “the book” is the change from Katniss’ point of view to a third-person (omniscent) perspective.
In the movie, we can see the Gamemakers behind the scenes. We see the unrest in the districts. We see Gale’s reaction to the Games. If you’ve read the book, you can appreciate these glimpses. With this perspective, I’m anxious to see books two and three translated onto the big screen. I think this third person perspective adds so much to the story itself, while the books are focused on Katniss (which I wouldn’t change at all!)
The movie moved quickly, which is necessary to cover all that the movie covers, but it made several scenes feel “skimmed” and left several key moments lacking (especially near the end.) I vote for a 4-hour version of the movie for those die-hards (me!) to enjoy. 🙂
Side note: I’m interested to talk with someone who hasn’t read the books but seen the movie. (If you’re one of those people – leave a comment, please!) Without having the book to “fill in the blanks” of Katniss’ motivation, I wonder if the movie was as complete. To me, it was the perfect companion to the book.
I have to rave about Jennifer Lawrence. While I was skeptical at first (having seen her only in XMen: First Class), she really defines the character and embodies her flaws and growth.
Katniss is real – they show her in unflattering angles, don’t stick makeup in the arena where it doesn’t belong and reveal the deep emotions without making Katniss weak. Jennifer had all the right facial expressions and just the right amount of charm and ruggedness.
Check out the soundtrack to the movie – the songs are all reflective of the book and go so much more deeper than the movie could. Try the sampling on iTunes or listen to the full songs on Spotify (which is free). Strongly. Recommended.
I could go on and go a lot deeper, but who really wants to read a 2,000-word movie review? Now share your thoughts on the movie in the comments, please!